We made the turn for home, some 4800 km away, and headed east and south on hwy 1, the Yukon Highway, a.k.a. the Alaska Highway but not before buying milk and bread and gas which we were pleased to have to pay only $1.13.9 / litre. It was partly cloudy and very windy. Most of the traffic was heading northwest to Alaska. The highway crossed back and forth between the Yukon and B.C. several times in the first 50 km but there was just one Welcome to B.C. sign.
We drove through the Liard River Valley where the river parallels the highway. Beautiful scenery as we approached the Northern Rockies. Again there were numerous wildlife warning signs, this time for bison and caribou. The wood bison (buffalo) are a threatened species, some 15 killed annually in collisions with vehicles. They like to forage beside the highway where they can spot predators more easily. It wasn’t long before we spotted three grazing.
We stopped at Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park to have lunch and walked the .7 km boardwalk trail across wetlands to the springs. The Liard River Hot Springs are the second largest known thermal spring complex in Canada with at least 6 springs feeding into different pools and streams that drain into the marsh. The farther from the source, the cooler the water. The water felt great @ 104º It was such an idyllic and unique experience, a hot spring in a natural, i.e. river setting. We didn’t want to leave.
The winds died down as we continued on and crossed the Lower Liard River Bridge. Constructed in 1942 and 1,143 feet long, it is the only remaining suspension bridge on the Alaska Highway. We had our first major construction delay of the trip, a 10 minute stop for an 8 km stretch where they were laying new gravel and tarring. We were warned about the dust: headlights on!
At 2,680 ft in elevation, Muncho Lake is 12 km long and 1.6 km wide and is known for its beautiful deep green and blue waters. It is one of the largest natural lakes in the Canadian Rockies.